I looked up recipes online and was confused when the results turned out airy and fluffy. It turns out that that’s the proper way to make madeleines. They’re made from a genoise batter, which is leavened by whipped eggs only.
Isn’t it funny how you eat a bad representation of a food item, and then forever and ever, you associated the ideal of that food item with the bad version?
This is my recipe for the bad version.
Madeleines look like cookies, but they’re actually small little sponge cakes. They get their characteristic shell shape from a special pan. You can get madeleine pans from a restaurant supply store or online. They either come with or without a nonstick coating. I favor without, as I think greasing and flouring the pan creates a pleasant crust around the cakes. I have these memories of making sponge cakes with my grandma, and she hailed from an old-school way of baking, so she’d faithfully grease pans and would line them with notebook paper.
However, non-stick pans are way less troublesome. But way less fun.
- 3 eggs
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk (whole preferred, 2% okay)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt the butter in a small pan on high heat and let it brown (it will smell delicious!). When it turns a tan color, take it off the heat. Set aside and let it cool until it's warm, not hot. You should be able to touch the pan without being scared of getting burned.
- (As the butter cools) in a medium mixing bowl, add all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt). Lightly whisk it all together so that it's incorporated.
- In a smaller bowl, lightly hand-whisk all of your wet ingredients together (the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract). You don't have to worry about making bubbles or beating it. You just have to stir so that it's all mix together.
- Take your wet ingredients and pour them on top of the dry. Using the same whisk, go ahead and mix the two together so that there are no big lumps (small lumps are okay). Just mix until it's JUST incorporated. This will probably will take about two minutes or less.
- Take your cooled brown butter and pour ⅓ of it into the batter. Mix with the whisk. Pour in another ⅓. Mix. Then pour in the rest and mix. It's okay if you get some of the brown particles on the bottom of the pan into the batter.
- Get your madeleine pan and spray with cooking spray. Mine's not non-stick so I need a LOT of spray and I also dust it with flour.
- Spoon in your batter into the molds. You should fill then about ¾ths full, not all the way full because they will puff up in the oven.
- Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.
- Pull them out, let the pan cool enough to handle, and carefully pop the madeleines out of the mold with a butter knife. Let them cool on a cooling rack or on the counter, face up.
- Bake another batch! Spray your pan and repeat steps 6-9 until you use up all the batter.
Little humpback whales!
Okay, so they’re not super pretty, because the madeleines stuck to the pan a little bit. But their imperfections are cute, right?
A close-up of the texture. You could take a nap in it, right?